Equipment - Walk-in DJ
Equipment - More complex sets
Normally I prefer to make contact with the client and, whenever possible, to have a visit to the location where the event will take place, as much in advance as possible. This is to make sure that everything is, and will be, where it is supposed to be, and make a list if anything is missing.
Too many times I was told by the client, that the location was completely serviced, save as for finding a lot of equipment not to be in full working order, broken, malfunctioning, or not up to my standards.
If it is not possible, some pictures and the possibility to communicate with the owners/managers of the location can help.
Aside last-minute walk-in performances, I would try to organise events at least 4 weeks in advance, depending also on the situation.
Complex events of a certain scale and duration, as weddings, require a lot of advanced planning; the more in advance is possible to plan, the better it will be; small venues with simple sets require very little, or no planning. If it's a recurring situation of course would be beneficial, as the visit would only be made the first time, and it would possible to plan improvements on a mid-long term basis.
Despite two floods occurred in the past, which caused my music archive to experience some gaps in some years and some genres, I can still cover different types of music.
I am not specialised in Latin, Punjabi, R'N'B, Raggaeton, Funky, Drum'n'Bass, and all those genres where the theme of the night is all the same from the beginning to the end, apart from the above mentioned list.
I have been playing in different sets but my main core is represented by Techno and House, where I choose what I want to play.
If a client needs specific music themes, or has playlists, and the situation makes it suitable, I would be more than happy to accommodate, as for example there would be no point in playing techno music at a wedding, where the majority of the guests would be from another type of background.
I am also available to build a complete playlist for the night, at the client's request, but in that case I would decline every responsibility for the outcome of the event, as I am not free do work the way I normally do. In some situations, with basic requirements, though, it's pretty fine and it causes no issues at all.
I never work with pre-recorded sets.
It's against my philosophy.
One thing is to prepare playlists, discuss with the client the songs that need to be played, even if that means preparing the archive from the begining to the end of the service, but I reserve the discretion of what I play, and the choice of the songs, based on the circumstances, unless the client expressly asks me not to do so.
Working with pre-recorded set is suitable for huge events, where there are thousands of people, the music has to be synchronised in realtime with special effects, like mechanical parts in movement, fog, lightning shows, animation, choreographies... In small events, where it is important that the DJ and the audience emphatically communicate with each other, it is what actually makes the difference, to "improvise" and pick up from the playlist what is the perfect choice for the moment... Which is, in the end, the essence of being a DJ, not a Juke-Box or a computer generated playlist.